Month: December 2019

OEP Prep – An Agent’s Guide – Ep. 22

Prepare for Open Enrollment Period (OEP) with Episode 22! We start off this podcast talking about what to expect for traditional Medicare plans in the New Year. It looks like there will be a few price increases in 2020, however there is good news too!

We then go on to discuss the basics of OEP. What is OEP? What can beneficiaries do during OEP? What should agents be doing during OEP? We break down the DOs and DON’Ts of this period, so you know how to be compliant and successful! After listening to this podcast you will be prepared and ready for anything the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) throws your way!

Podcast Episode 22 – Open Enrollment Period (OEP) Prep – An Agent’s Guide Transcription:

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 22 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith…

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: Now that AEP is over, we’re going to talk about how you should be preparing for OEP which is just around the corner! We’re also gonna talk about some price changes that are expected to impact Medicare plans in 2020.

Disruptive Waves [00:40] :

Sarah: 2020 is almost here which is just CRAZY!

Jessica: Yeah, I have no idea where the year went. It’s also so weird to think that we are gonna be in the 20’s. Also do you know what they call the 10’s? Is it that? Is it the 10’s or is it something else? It just doesn’t sound right to me haha I don’t know.

Sarah: Yeah, maybe if you guys know, because we obviously don’t haha leave a comment and tell us! Is it the 10’s is it the 2000’s? What the proper way to say this, we need to know!

Jessica: Yes we do! Haha but anyway… to bring us back on topic haha with it being the end of the year there are a lot of reports coming out about things to expect in the new year. And we found an article recently that had some interesting info about three major Medicare costs that are expected to jump in January. 

Sarah: Yep! Sadly, this isn’t the best news ever. Several premiums and deductibles on traditional Medicare will be experiencing increases in the new year.

Jessica: So the first one is the 2020 Medicare Part B standard monthly premium which is expected to increase by about $9.10 per month to bring it to $144.60 per month. And just for your reference, the increase from 2018 to 2019 was only by $1.50. So 2020’s is a pretty big jump in comparison.

Sarah: The next one is the 2020 Medicare Part B annual deductible and that’s expected to increase to $198 per year which is a $13 increase. And again this plan only increased by $2 a year ago.

Jessica: The last one is the 2020 Medicare Part A annual inpatient hospital deductible for traditional Medicare. That’s going to increase $44, compared to the $24 increase that happened a year prior. So now that cost is expected to be at $1,408 per benefit period.

Sarah: Obviously a lot of this depends on the beneficiary’s income for Part B, but overall these plans are looking at a pretty significant increase in 2020.

Jessica: On the bright side though, Medicare Advantage premiums for 2020 are expected to be 23% lower than they were for 2018! And it’s actually supposed to be the lowest it’s ever been in the past 13 years which is awesome!

Sarah: Yeah I think the main reason for that is CMS’s efforts to drive competition. The other thing too is that the number of Medicare Advantage plans available for 2020 is greater than ever. So not all bad news! 

Jessica: Yeah there are definitely things to look forward to in the new year!

All Aboard the Knowledge Train [04:10] :

Jessica: So now that AEP has officially come to an end, we can focus on Open Enrollment Period or OEP. 

Sarah: Let’s start with the basics! OEP is a one-time opportunity for individuals enrolled in MA Only or an MAPD plan to switch plans or drop their plan altogether. 

Jessica: And if you didn’t know, the purpose of this period is to help beneficiaries who are not satisfied with the plan they enrolled in during Annual Enrollment (AEP).

Sarah: Right! And during this period, beneficiaries enrolled in MA-Only plans or MAPD plans are able to switch to a different MA-only or MAPD plan, drop their Medicare Advantage plan altogether, return to Original Medicare and add a Part D plan. The period begins January 1st and ends March 31st. Which means you have that window to help bene’s who aren’t happy with their plans! However, OEP is different than AEP and has a few more guidelines that you have to follow in order to be compliant. And we all know how important compliance is! 

Jessica: Yes compliance is very important! No one wants to deal with any sales allegations. So in order to avoid that whatever you do, do NOT market to leads or clients during OEP. Marketing is strictly prohibited during this period, so be careful.

Sarah: OEP guidelines make it so that you are prohibited from KNOWINGLY targeting or sending unsolicited marketing materials to any MA or Part D enrollee during OEP. Now what does “knowingly” mean? It pretty much just takes into account the intent AND content of your message. 

Jessica: So this is where OEP gets a little tricky and people have the hardest time understanding. Cause how are you supposed to make any money or sales during OEP if you can’t market to beneficiaries. And that’s where I would remind people that there is a difference between marketing and communication. You can still communicate with your book of business, you just can’t open a discussion about OEP specifically and how it’s a period they can use to switch plans.

Sarah: Right, so with that being said, you CAN reach out to them to make sure that they’re happy with the plan they selected and you can also take that opportunity to educate them on the ins and outs of their new plan benefits.

Jessica: Exactly! And this gives them the opportunity to bring up to YOU if they’re not happy with their plan and want to look at other options. 

Sarah: Yeah cause remember the main reason you can’t start the conversation about it is for the beneficiaries protection. They don’t want people taking advantage of these different selling periods and talking people into different plans simply to make money. That would not be good!

Jessica: And don’t forget you can talk and communicate with your clients through a ton of different platforms. And I think this is where people tend to get confused because when people think about flyers, emails, and direct mail they think marketing which is not allowed. However, you CAN use flyers, emails, social media… all of these different outlets! You just have to be careful with what you put and say on these materials. 

Sarah: Yeah, you may not be able to talk about how bene’s can change their plans during OEP, but you can use those materials and have the content be educational or retention efforts. And that’s something you want to be doing anyway! You want to make sure you’re checking in on your clients and see if they are using their benefits and are happy.

Jessica: Yep! So go ahead and make those calls! Send those emails! You want to make sure your clients don’t forget that you’re there to help them with all of their Medicare questions and needs!

Sarah: And lucky for you guys, Senior Market Advisors actually has a ton of approved flyers and mailers on our Storefront that you can purchase if you’re an agent with us! However, if you’re a subscriber we’re going to give you a flyer to download for FREE!

Jessica: So just to wrap it all up, as you’re preparing for OEP here are the do’s and dont’s. First, DO market to those who are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.

Sarah: And that includes people who are turning 65 soon and still haven’t made an enrollment decision, as well as dual-eligible and low-income subsidy beneficiaries who can make changes once per the calendar quarter during the first nine months of the year. 

Jessica: Also for 2020 you are now able to include GENERAL information about enrollment periods, including OEP. But just remember that when you send out marketing materials regarding SEP you CANNOT state WHAT OEP is or market it as another time people can switch plans!

Sarah: DO communicate with beneficiaries and send materials, have one-on-one meetings and provide information. Just make sure to do it in a way that’s compliant!

Jessica: Finally DO market 5-star plans if they’re available because those can be sold year-round!

Sarah: And now for the DONT’S! DON’T send unsolicited materials advertising the ability to make an additional enrollment change during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP).

Jessica: DON’T use messaging that markets the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) as a time people can switch plans. 

Sarah: DON’T specifically target beneficiaries who are in the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) because they made a choice during AEP, by purchase of mailing lists or other means of identification. 

Jessica: DON’T engage in or promote agent/broker activities that intend to target the OEP as an opportunity to make further sales.

Sarah: And finally, DON’T call or otherwise contact former enrollees who have selected a new plan during AEP to bring up OEP and ask them if they want to switch their plan.

Jessica: If you follow these guidelines you’ll have a smooth OEP and hopefully help some beneficiaries as well! 

Sarah: And if you have any questions about OEP feel free to contact our Sales Team! They will be happy to help you and answer any questions you may have!

The Value of Cross Selling – Ep. 21

In Episode 21, we discuss cross selling! However, we start off by talking about how drones are saving lives! When you think of a drone, what comes to mind? Do you think of healthcare? Maybe not. But a company called Zipline is working to change that! They are using drones to deliver life-saving medical supplies to remote areas in African nations. 

Later in the episode, we welcome Keith Hinson as a guest! He provides us with insight on the value of cross selling. His experience is incredibly helpful and valuable to other agents who want to cross sell! Keith makes it simple and easy to understand what benefits cross selling offers, what to offer to clients when cross selling, and his advise on how to cross sell successfully!

Podcast Episode 21 – The Value of Cross Selling Transcription:

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 21 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith…

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode we’re coming in hot with DRONES! Yes, you heard right. Drones are saving lives! We will discuss how. We also are going to talk about something you all should be doing when possible, cross selling! Cross selling is really important to increase your sales and build your business. We brought our very own Keith Hinson back on the podcast to break it all down!

Disruptive Waves:

Sarah: So continuing our discussion of some interesting technological advances that are affecting the healthcare space, we are going to talk about drones today! Okay, we all know drones are cool. Kinda scary. But also super cool. Well, drones are now being used to save lives!!

Jessica: We are pretty lucky here in the US, most places at least have the infrastructure to be to transport life-saving materials, even to remote rural areas. But other countries like Rwanda and Ghana, aren’t always so lucky. Currently, they don’t have the necessary infrastructure to allow for access to remote health centers. Some of these health centers only receive medical supply deliveries twice a year. But a company called Zipline is working to change that!

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Sarah: Zipline manufactures drones in California and then stations them at distribution centers in the African nations of Rwanda and Ghana. They hope to expand into other developing nations as well! Basically, their goal is to deliver life-saving medicines and other medical products to remote areas that don’t have the infrastructure in place to receive deliveries any other way. So they probably just don’t have the road access but what’s awesome is that Zipline drones fly without a pilot and are able to fly over mountains and rivers so the local communities don’t need to have roads in order to receive medical deliveries!

Jessica: What’s really cool is that the doctors in these remote locations can request deliveries via an app! These drones can fly rain or shine and they’re now supporting hundreds of deliveries per day! 

Sarah: Yeah and in places where it used to take over 5 hours for medical supplies to arrive, now can only take 30 minutes with a Zipline drone delivery! That can be the difference between life and death for someone in critical condition so it’s so awesome!

Jessica: Yeah this just shows the power of technology in today’s world. It’s so amazing that people are using drones for good!

Sarah: Yeah I feel like I typically think of drones as either a military thing or just for fun to fly around your neighborhood and take photos so it’s really cool to see drones being used to save lives!

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Jessica: Today we are lucky to have one of our own, Keith Hinson on the podcast! He is going to talk to us about the value of cross selling, how you can be doing it and why it’s so important!! First Keith, would you mind giving us a little background about yourself?

Keith: My name is Keith Hinson and I am the Vice President of Life and Ancillary Sales here at Senior Market Advisors. The way I got into the insurance business was that I was actually educated to be an engineer and I was working a graveyard shift sitting at my desk and I realized that it was not the way I wanted to spend my working life. So I did research and figured that insurance would be profitable and a good fit for my life so 20 years later this is where I find myself. Couple fun facts: I’m an eagle scout and I’m a three-time iron distance tri-athlete.

Sarah: Okay so cross selling is that simple right. Can you just talk about the basics of cross selling and what products you would be cross selling?

Keith: 

  1. What is cross selling?  At its core cross selling is selling complementary products that pair well with the original product or additional products that were uncovered during your fact finding process.
  2. As an example, for the senior market, these products may include products such as Dental, Vision, HIP, Home Health, Cancer, etc.  All of which pair with with Medicare plans or specific needs that would be uncovered during the fact finding process.

Jessica: How does cross selling help grow your business?

Keith: I believe that cross selling as part of your daily activity is important for four main reasons..

  1. First and foremost, it’s the right thing to do for your clients. – educate them
  2. Book Diversity
  3. Money – Marketing is expensive – at least expect to double your income at 1 out of 4
  4. Retention – Limra Study 3+

Sarah: Okay so there are a lot of compliance concerns around cross selling. Even the word cross selling makes some agents feel uneasy. Can you just talk a bit about what you can and can’t do and how to make sure you’re compliant?

Keith: The easiest way to answer that question is to make sure that anything you discuss  has been initialed on the scope. Dental, Vision, Supp, MA, Indemnity, Part D (exclude life, DI, LTC, etc.)

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Jessica: Are there certain products that pair well together and should be sold together if possible?

Keith:There are several plans that pair well together.  As an example:

Supp, Part D, Dental, Vision

MA, HIP, Cancer – OOO, Part B Cost with Chemo, Part D cost

Sarah: What is the best advice you can give an agent who decides to go ahead with cross selling?

Keith: My advice is pretty simple.  

  1. Have a plan/presentation and know your products
  2. Present the options every time
  3. Do it consistently.  Not everyone will buy and you have to polish your presentation

Make sure to tune in for an extra funny segment of Ending on a Positive Note with Jessica and Paxton! You don’t want to miss it.

Sarah: If you want to learn more about how Senior Market Advisors can be your home for success this AEP, give us a call at 844-334-6066. If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” 

Sarah: Want more Medicare sales related content? Follow Senior Market Advisors on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – links in the description. We post new episodes every other Friday so make sure to follow and like us to stay up to date with all the newest content! If you’re liking our podcast, share our posts with the hashtag SELLING SMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot! 

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART 

Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!